Calls of the wild [5:52 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"It is bedlam. It is pandemonium. It is fandemonium."'
Team was able to right itself [5:51 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'How many people are surprised to learn that the Bills aren't going to the Super Bowl, Tom Donahoe is not the NFL's version of Red Auerbach, Drew Bledsoe is not a better quarterback than Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick is not an idiot? Come on, now. Honestly.'
Not much headway [5:50 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Bills said Bledsoe passed all neurological tests, including National Football League baseline testing. "The pros are paid incredible amounts of money to do what they do, and the quarterback is the team leader, but the brain is a bit unique compared to the knees and back," said Cantu. "There's just no question you should not be playing with a brain injury."'
Tough trade-off [5:49 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Patriots fans frequently heard how Bledsoe's problems were the result of a shaky offensive line, or the loss of Curtis Martin, or the decline of Ben Coates, or the play-calling of Perkins/Kennan/Zampese. The excuse-making isn't nearly as pronounced in Buffalo, where the fans and media are mostly amazed at how long Bledsoe holds on to the ball and how much trouble he has against the blitz.'
A song in his lion heart [5:48 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"He's a true professional," head coach Bill Belichick said. Nobody works harder or is more diligent or puts more into it than he does. He throws himself across the tracks and he does everything he possibly can for himself to be a good player."'
Team unity drives Pats' remarkable run [5:47 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"We all show leadership in one way or another every single day," Belichick said earlier this week, while getting his 13-2 team ready for the regular-season finale against Buffalo. "You don't just stand in front of the team and be a leader. The way you go about your job and the way you contribute to the team provides some degree of leadership. I think every single person falls into that category."'
Patriots Vs. Patriots [5:46 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'But with the final game of the regular season and the postseason still ahead, having the NFL's best record is small comfort unless they can do what the 2001 team did.'
'D' truly teamwork [5:45 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: '"When I say team defense, it is that confidence both by the players and the coaching staff of knowing that pretty much everything is under control. I am not saying every play is a 5-yard loss, but every play is relatively under control, and you are not just holding on by your fingernails."'
Happy trails for Bills' classy voice [5:44 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Most lasting memory: "You'd have to go back to the '64-65 AFL championship teams," he says. "That's the last time a major league team from Western New York or Buffalo ever won the last game of the season."'
Brady faces old friend Milloy again [5:43 AM]
AP reports: '"I knew that they were going to be a good team," he said. "They are putting a lot of responsibilities on the corners, and the corners are really stepping up this year."'
Drew looks for two over Pats [5:42 AM]
The Sports Network reports: '"I don't have any prediction with that, really," Williams said of the chances of being back in Buffalo for the 2004 season. "Next week is next week. We'll sit down as soon as possible. We'll talk. We do that every year. We'll start two days after the season, tearing everything down. We'll go through every phase of it. [GM Tom Donahoe] and I have done that every year."'
Eleven heaven [5:41 AM]
The Sports Network reports: '"I think the depth on your team is important," New England head coach Bill Belichick said. "You never know when you are going to need it. It is kind of like when you buy insurance, you never know if you are going to have to use it or not, but if you have it and you need it, it is a good thing to have."'
Milloy expects emotional return to Foxboro [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm envious of anybody that has a chance to go and win a Super Bowl," he said. "It's not because the New England Patriots are my ex-buddies. It's just because they are winning ball games. That's what it's all about for me."'
All Brady does is win, baby [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Brady is even more popular now than he was after leading the Pats to an unlikely Super Bowl win two years ago. He is Boston's most celebrated bachelor. He has a part in "Stuck on You," the new comedy by the Farrelly brothers. A national magazine recently compared him to Jimmy Stewart in "It's A Wonderful Life." He is the offensive leader for a team that takes an 11-game winning streak and 13-2 record into Saturday's regular-season finale against the Bills.'
Ruben Brown excused again; Williams practices [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'McGahee also is looking forward to teaming with Travis Henry in what could be one of the NFL's most formidable backfields. "It will be exciting," McGahee said. "We have a great team. We feel we can make a run."'
Travis Henry is forgotten man in Bills' passing attack [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Still, the Bills should have dumped off to Henry a lot more and found more ways to get him one-on-one in space. Even if defenses keyed on him and he averaged 3 yards a catch it would help Bledsoe and be better than the negative plays the Bills have had in the pass offense. The fact is Kevin Gilbride's offense is a wideout-oriented attack. Take this to the bank: Passes to the backs will figure much more prominently in the offense next year.'
Brown gives back to Salvation Army [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Brown is undeniably one of the organizationís finest reclamation projects because as he was barreling through puberty, the Salvation Army literally provided salvation for an impressionable teenager who could have easily strayed down a dangerous path littered with trouble every step of the way.'
Bledsoe: pockets of trouble [5:14 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'His teammates are even losing patience. Moulds called Bledsoe's 12-for-24, 114-yard, no-touchdown, two-turnover performance Sunday "the worst I've seen him play." After one sack late in the first half, one on which Bledsoe pump-faked and took an elongated stride, Ruben Brown went ballistic and shouted toward the sideline, though it was unclear whether his frustration was directed at Bledsoe. Brown went off again on the sideline. The bottom line: Bledsoe has been sacked 100 times in two seasons as a Bill (the same number of times he was brought down in 1999 and 2000, his last full seasons as a starter for the Patriots) and they weren't all on the line.'
A healthy dose of optimism [5:13 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Though certainly more are nursing injuries after 19 games (including preseason), only two New England players appeared on the injury report for Saturday's game against the Bills at Gillette Stadium.'
Patriots' job not done yet [5:12 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The good news is that Brady hasn't committed a turnover the past three games. That must continue through January.'
Healthy holidays [5:11 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The latest injury report was released yesterday and only two names were on it - backup safety Chris Akins (leg) and guard Joe Andruzzi (foot). Both are listed as questionable for Saturday's game against Buffalo. Andruzzi was the only player to sit out practice, with Akins returning to action for the first time in three weeks.'
Season has taken toll on Milloy [5:10 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Even as he says he's moved on, one can sense lingering bitterness over the way he feels he was used last season and the way his release went down.'
Prepare for takeoff [5:09 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Milloy swears this isnít about revenge against his former teammates. He just wants to win. "I am going to go out there and I am going to fly around and it is not going to be a vengeful range," Milloy said. "It is going to be because I respect all of my teammates over there and anybody that gains my respect on any opposing team, they can expect my best."'
Patriots buy into Belichickís system [5:08 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Belichick also pointed out that, in the past, heís had players who donít buy into that concept. They usually donít last long in his system. "I have seen both. Some players just canít understand it," he said. "They just canít buy into it: ĎItís okay for me to do my job and for you to make the tackle.í Some players canít understand that. They only feel like they have done their job if they make the tackle and therefore if they try to make it and miss it, then they are better off than if they just do their job and let the play go to somebody else.There are other players that have trouble understanding the concept that, ĎItís not my job to make every play. It is my job to take care of my responsibility.í"'
These gifts made an impression on Patriots players [5:07 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Even quarterback Tom Brady isn't playing along. Hey Tom, what are you hoping to get for Christmas this year? "I just want a win," he responds.'
Milloy's happy [5:06 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: '"Right now, we feel like we can line up and play against anybody. It is just sad that we are not in the playoff hunt because I know teams don't want to face us right now."'
Inside slant [5:05 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Even if as many as 10 head coaching jobs open up, Williams won't be high on anybody's list of candidates. Donahoe, whose style is to take his time and not react emotionally, believes in top-down management and won't lay all the blame for this season's struggles solely on Williams. He also likes stability. So while it would be easy to assume Williams is a goner, it's also possible Donahoe will choose to stay the course, allowing Williams to keep intact a rising No. 2 defense and staff of assistants, while the focus shifts to revamping the offense.'
Strategy and personnel [5:04 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills and Winfield talked before the season began about a new deal but didn't come to terms and Winfield now hopes to test the market, especially after his fourth straight season of not tasting the playoffs after getting there his rookie year. "I don't want to cheat myself," Winfield said. "I mean, I would love to be back. We have a very talented team. But I want to win and I'm tired of losing. It seems like that has been the thing around here the last three years. I need to go to a contender, or hopefully, we can step up here and do something. I'll have to weigh my options."'
Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:03 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Bills fans booed from start to finish in the Miami loss, but one person got a little more creative. He blew up a white balloon, wrote the words "Bye, Bye Gregg" on it in black marker, and released it to be bounced around the stands like a beach ball. Talk about your balloon-o-grams.'
Super Mario hoping to catch on with Buffalo full time [5:02 AM]
Clarksdale Press Register reports: '"It's not that hard for me because I'm still learning how to play in the NFL," he said. "It's harder on other players who are used to playing every week."'
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